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Belarusian FM: Minsk is ready to end confrontation with West

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei

Belarus is ready to end confrontation with Western nations, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has said, adding that Minsk has made firm proposals to that effect.

Makei made the remarks in an interview with the Belarus-1 TV channel on Saturday while commenting on his participation in the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers in Stockholm.

"What is said publicly during such public events is one thing. On the sidelines, however, our colleagues say that we all should make a stop and start thinking of how to stop fuelling tensions any further and prevent the situation from spiraling further down."

"We are ready for that," he said during the interview. "We have made concrete proposals."

"Clearly, this won’t happen immediately," the Belarusian top diplomat said, but added, "I think that there is always a way out of any situation, including out of this complicated situation in the current relations between Belarus and the European Union."

He went on to say that he had held talks with some of his Western colleagues on the sidelines of the Stockholm event, though he did not identify those diplomats.

“The majority of meetings was held behind closed doors, and we did not report them, because our colleagues requested to keep this information confidential," he said.

He added that some of his meetings with the diplomats have already been " officially reported on the foreign ministry’s website.”

The remarks came just a day after the Belarusian foreign ministry lashed out at the West for imposing fresh sanctions on Belarus after accusing Minsk of stoking a migrant crisis.

The US, Canada, and their European allies, which have accused Minsk of hijacking the crisis for "political reasons," decided on Thursday to broaden their restrictive economic measures targeting more Belarusian officials and businesses.

"The depth of the absurdity of the EU's decision on the latest sanctions against sovereign Belarus and its very content is by now difficult to comprehend," the ministry emphasized in an official statement that further censured the West for "demonizing" Belarus while vowing "tough" retaliatory measures.

Nearly 2,000 people camped out last month on the Belarus-Poland border in freezing conditions before the makeshift camp was cleared out by border guards and the migrants were moved to a logistics center.

"The burden of responsibility is placed on Belarus while blatantly ignoring the true causes of the global migration crisis," the ministry added.


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